The start of the month may have started well and stayed on budget - but the end of the month has made up for such a good start - A lot of expenses - trees and hedge done in garden - had to pay landscaper $2,000 - Four new tyres $230 - I had a puncture last week and all four tyres needed to be replaced. Laying foundation for a wall at the front of our house - still don't have a final cost for that - I guess some of this was not unexpected - but it still hits our savings. I used the credit card for tyres - as we have some money due back from 2006 taxes about $650 - so that will help. Been busy at work lately, haven't had time to post much lately - good to be busy too.
Archive for January, 2007
Mostly painting this weekend - groceries came in at $122.19 - which is very consistent with previous two weeks. We did pay $55 for paint/rollers etc - not budgeted but it kept us busy - MIL's birthday today another $50 - but thanfully the meal out was cancelled. All of which means that we have enough food in the house, gas in the cars, and we are all healthy so we should make it to thursday when its pay day. dw has $20 in her purse - but main checking account is down to $6 - so if we do need money I'll have to go to savings - but I think we can make it to thursday as we are - nothing like a challenge.
We are trying to get on top on the 1001 things that need to be done in the house, and we are planning on doing some painting this weekend - two rooms. And we also had some hedging put down last weekend - it looks good so far, but will take a few years to mature - I think the trees are arriving tomorrow as well. The ground might be too wet to put them in - but we can see tomorrow.
The trees and hedging will cause a big dent in my Savings B account - it will be about $2,000 when its all done, its unfortunate - but expected. The paint I'm trying to deal with from my checking account, and although not budgeted I think I can just about afford some paint - and of course it has the added bonus of keeping us busy so we won't be out spending this weekend - other than the paint. I'll do the grocery shop tonight - so if I can come in under $150 (Its been about $123 the last two weeks) I should be OK. Next Thursday is payday - so a bit of financial juggling to get there - but at least won't be using credit card - or debt card as I now call them.
I read an article - can't remember where - but they suggested you replace the words 'Credit', and 'Loan' - with the word 'Debt' anytime you hear it. Suddenly whatever is on offer doesn't sound that appealing, Instead of 'Credit Card' its 'Debt Card', instead of 'Need a loan quickly' its 'Need a debt quickly' - same thing but I can guarantee that the finance companies will never change.
With the possibility of one income I spent a bit of time playing with a spreadsheet to see how we would cope long term (at the moment we have some in income protection insurance coming in as my dw was laid off last Oct - but thats good for 12 months). I did my first draft of a 2008 plan with one income, and provided we save this year for the big yearly expenditures, insurances, taxes, services we should be OK I think if we stay on budget - and this year (so far) we are showing that we can stay on budget - possibly even under budget. I had a 'feeling' we could get by on one income - what I did today was to see would we still be able to save a bit as well - or would it all just pile up on top of itself in 2009 - It seems crazy to be talking about 2008 and 2009 now - but we are considering my dw staying out of work to mind the kids and I'm trying to see if we can really afford this or not. For the moment it gives us something to talk about at home - the joys of budget spreadsheets!!!
We managed to book the babysitter last Saturday night and get out for a while, we said we try to use our babysitter more this year. Nice to get out and see a movie together. It was a good weekend, groceries were $122.92, and we got out in the fresh air a few times - all wrapped up - its very cold, but the sun broke through every now and again. Monday morning came way too fast - but I'm top of things at work pretty much - so I'm not stressed in work anymore. I think January might be my best month yet for budgeting/planning - but I have an insatiable desire to sort out finances once and for all - big expectations for 2007 so far so good.
I need to do the weeks grocery shopping tonight, I'm amazed at how much this month to date has stayed pretty much on budget. We discussed last night about the credit card debt, and our plan to pay it off. We are due a refund from educational assistance, our healthcare is due to give a partial refund from doctor and consultant visits last year, and we are owed some tax back from an overpayment last year also. It would be nice if these refunds could be used for savings but maybe next years refunds might go there. For the moment we are staying on track budget wise.
We also seem to be surviving the cold and flu season well, with no major complaints on the health front. You can't plan for illnesses, and what of course happens is because you can't plan for them, you don't plan for them, and then when it happens your plan is immediately thrown out of shape. I'm watchful for any surprises at the minute. I keep going back to last year spreadsheet and checking what expenses we had in January 2006 in case they repeat this month.
MIL birthday is at the end of the month, last year we went to a local restaurant and purchased present, this year I expect the same year - between the present and restaurant it was a about $150 last year, a little too expensive, but its a big family thing. I'm hoping to cut the cost this year. January is a recovery month following the turmoil of christmas, so anything that can reduce expenditure in January is most welcome. I'm hoping this year to lose a bit of weight, so maybe a cheap light salad at the restaurant might help as well
When I wasn't paying attention and planning/budegting my finances pay days seem to just come and go - now days it seems a long wait until pay day comes round. I can depress myself when I think of the money that I let slip through my fingers in my 20's and early 30's - such is life I guess. Tomorrow is pay day, and I get to move some money around, pay a few bills, and move money to savings etc. Its the first pay day of 2007 as well. I've had no financial surprises this month so far - long may that continue, so I think the next two weeks will be key to staying on top of the budget for January. Today is certainly quiet so another 21 days like this and we will come in just under budget
Today is a no spend day - nothing in but good news is nothing out either. At work I can preload my id card with credit - we operate a cashless system at lunch time - so I was able to get breakfast and lunch - but it came off my card - I've been good this year and cut back on food I buy in work, but I know it would make more sense to make my own lunch and bring it in - but I just can't seem to make that jump - so the compromise is to cut back. Soda's are out, expensive water is out, chocolate is out, sweets are out. Basic breakfast, and lunch is the order of the day. I've definetly seen the money last a bit longer this week doing this.
The last few nights our ds has been waking between 4am and 6am most nights - it doesn't make it easy when it comes time to get up for work. Thankfully last night he slept through - and I feel much better for it, it is great when every one in the house gets sleep.
My dw has applied for a job as an accounts assistant in a nearby hotel - it would be fantastic if she got it - no news yet of her even getting an interview - but fingers crossed. We've prepared for her being out for a while, with the kids her job needs to be local, and flexible and this sounds like it might be right - so as these jobs don't show up too often, she decided to go for it now.
Grocery bill at the weekend was $122.99, I was pleased with that as we had diapers, and washing powder on the list. I budget $150 every week for our groceries, most weeks we just come in below that, but I guess we still have some excess left since Christmas. Anyway its good to come under any time. We brought the kids to a local show yesterday, kids entertainment stuff, they had a ball, and my work offerred us half price tickets too. We finished up our day our in McDonalds - the kids had a blast.
I need to bring my mother (69) for a hospital appointment this thursday, its a bone density test. I think this is fairly routine, other than her under active thyroid which she takes medication for she is in good health - although I wish she would give up the cigarettes, but she has cut back considerably.
And to start the year off to a good start - we put our first set of savings $10 away for christmas 2007. It pays to start early - Hopefully we can keep this going every week through the year.
Thankfully things seem be returning to normal, after the holidays. Still a bit of a shock to the system to be getting up early again, but I'm sure in a day or two I'll be used to it.
I did buy a new suit in the january sales - but when two shirts and two ties got added the total was a spend of $329.99 - but the Savings A account was put in place for this expense.
But overall it was a quiet christmas for us, the kids played with toys and only for new years on my sil's house we weren't out over the week. 2007 will be a busy year at work, and I have great hopes that it will be a great year financially for us.